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African Safari Boating And Wildlife Safaris

Mar 17, 2008
If you are looking for an African safari adventure, you will often find your self spoilt for choices. There is Kenya with it's famous wildlife including the great wilderbeest migration in masai mara. Then there is southern Africa with a lot to offer. If you are a water person then, paddling up creeks, gliding across placid lakes and pushing through reeds while dodging crocodiles is an exciting way of seeing wildlife, not so much for glimpses of crocs, or hippos (which may just be showing their nostrils), but for the animals, so you can get much closer. Canoeing or boating safaris are most rewarding in semi-arid areas, whose rivers and lakes are obviously of paramount importance to local wildlife.

Sadly kenya's masai mara and the famous mara where the wildebeest migration occurs each year doesn't offer that to visitors.

In West Africa drifting along in a canoe on the River Niger is a major thrill, especially on the edge of Niger's portion of hyenas and jackals can be seen. Guinea's parc National du Haut Niger is more wooded, and gives you a chance of spotting chimpanzees. Gabon is excellent for pirogue trips, with boats available in coastal Akanda National Park, and inland at Minkebe Lope National Parks. In East Africa, Tanzania's Selous Game Reserve is the main place for boating, which can be combined with bush walks.

You're spoilt for choice in Southern Africa. Boating safaris in Zambia's South Lungwa National Park are very popular, and the country also allows canoeing safaris in the swampy Kafue National Park (great for water-loving antelopes), and along the Zambezi. In the latter you can extend your trip over several days, spending nights under canvas. Neighbouring Zimbabwe also offers Zambezi canoeing expeditions, as part of trips to Mana pools National Park. To the north, Malawi's Liwonde National Park is an exceptional place for seeing elephants, hippos, crocs and birds from a boat, while boats are also the best way to get around the swampy wildlife sanctuaries of Namibia's Capriivi Strip.

If you use a horse or an elephant as a as a means of transport you'll be often be able to approach other species much more closely than you would if you were on foot or in a car. Neither horseback nor elephant-back safaris are particularly widespread in africa, however; in general horses don't have too good a time of it in Africa thanks to sleeping sickness and other parasitic diseases. Good places for horseback safaris include Kenya's masai mara, Botswana's elephant-packed Tuli and Mashatu Game Reserves, Northern Malawi's inspiring \Nyika Plateau, Zimbabwe's Lake Mutirikwe National Park (where you can get close to white rhinos), the alphine highlands of Ethiopia's Bale Mountains National Park, and Swaziland's Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. There are also horseback safaris at masai mara.

Unlike their Asian cousins, the African elephant has never been too partial to the ideal of having to lug people around on their backs, so the recent introduction of elephant - back safaris in Zambia (Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park), South Africa (Pilanesburg National Park), and in Botswana's diminutive Mokolodi Nature Reserve, owes unwitting thanks to the days ivory poaching. Orphaned elephants rescued by sanctuaries, and their offspring, have grown up to be trusting of humans.

Lastly don't forget camels. In Niger's Air Mountains, where small population of Savanna animals still survive, you can spend days on camelback exploring the edges of the Tenere sand dunes.

Actually, "days" isn't quite true after a few hours in the saddle, you'll probably find walking a rather more comfortable experience.
About the Author
Jerry Wanga is editor of An African Safari website that gives information and ideas on Africa vacations. You can view more info on African safari and Kenya's masai mara on the website.
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